Mayoralty candidate set out her first priority as Mayor: Change the Procedure Bylaw

By Anne Marsden

September 28th, 2022



Burlington residents Anne and Dave Marsden, Pro Bono Health, Safety and Access Advocates are on the Burlington City Council and Committee record since the 90’s delegating on any subject that affects the well-being of city families. All their delegations are based on areas of expertise honed in Anne and Dave’s well referenced professional careers and pro-bono advocacy in and out of the Courts; see

This opinion piece sees Anne speak out on current issues, raised by the Gazette and Ward 2 Candidate Keith Demoe. The initiating event was witnessed by Ward 2 Candidate Tim O’Brien. It is apparent that the City Clerk, City Manager and incumbent members of Council presently standing for re-election have a different perspective than the bill-payers of Burlington. The approved 2022 Budget includes a total operating budget of $284.7 million. The 2022 election is an opportunity for Demoe and O’Brien to show they are better fitted for making decisions around the budget than the Ward 2 incumbent. That’s what happens in fair, democratic elections.

The section of the Burlington Procedure Bylaw that is raising issues of Clerk/incumbent favour came into being in 2016. The Ward 2 Councillor, now the incumbent Mayor, alerted citizens that Council was proposing to reduce delegation time from 10 to 5 mins. Everyone, including the Marsdens applauded what was seen as a stand not to weaken the public engagement process. What residents did not understand, was that by-law 67-2016 weakens the Section 5 Municipal Act decision-making power of council and kisses goodbye to fulsome public engagement.

Sections 37.11 and 37.12 of 67-2016 gave a power to the City Manager that must only belong to Committee Chairs and Head of Council. It took away their authority to make a decision that a delegate’s behaviour was inappropriate or offensive and deal with it as it occurred.

The Marsdens tried hard to delay the by-law approval until it could receive public attention but sections 37.11 and 37.12 were approved and remained in the 2016 by-law until Report CL-01-20 was forwarded to Council by City Clerk, Angela Morgan. The January 2020 Report outlined multiple changes which included an update to what would be 39.11 and 39.12 in the 2020 updated Procedure By-law.

“Added “the Clerk” in addition to City Manager as someone who can deny a delegate due to unreasonable behaviour”

This wording is a huge stretch in terms of reality as denial is not based on any unreasonable behaviour but rather on the City Manager and now City Clerk being given the authority to deem a delegate’s behavior may be inappropriate and turf them from the list of delegates. This, in turn, gives the Head of Council or Committee someone to run to in order to get rid of a delegate, whose position they do not agree with, from speaking at the public lectern. Dark shades of dictatorship!

Anne Marsden

The change to delegate the elected members of Council authority to the Clerk as well as the City Manager occurred at the same time as Council was discussing significant New Official Plan issues. The Marsdens’ proposal to delay the by-law changes until residents had dealt with the urgent Official Plan issues was seen on the webcast to be vetoed by Councillor Sharman. He was later joined by the rest of Council on the by-law vote for approval and enactment.

The update to the city website after municipal election nominations closed 2022 saw the disappearance of the webcasts and minutes associated with issues Anne Marsden intended to address in her election campaign. Missing webcasts and minutes saw an inability for candidates to review the performance of the current incumbents. This past week taxpayers saw the Clerk get rid of a delegate who had information to share at the lectern on a very serious matter related to the Ward 2 incumbent councillor’s behaviours.

The Clerk, without any evidence to substantiate his position notified the Ward 2 candidate that he was likely to behave in an unreasonable/offensive manner and prohibited his attendance at the lectern of the last Council meeting of the 2018-2022 term. That he later changed his mind too late to have Demoe attend at the lectern adds insult to injury.

Anne Marsden, perhaps the most prolific delegator in the city.

There are many issues with the current Procedure By-law that need addressing immediately the new Council is formed. A thorough review and sufficient public notice/engagement to restore the Procedure By-laws to have teeth to address accountability, transparency and public engagement they had in 2010 is my first priority for the new Council. The Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns and obviously all members of Council are on the record with their 2020 vote that they support the Clerk and City Manager having these dictatorship powers. They apparently enjoy the ability to get rid of a delegate, they would rather not hear. Kearns failed to respond to her very concerned constituents when she was contacted by them personally, back in 2019 on this matter. Her lack of response was recorded in a commissioned affidavit surrounding the events.

The failure to address this issue and the Ward 2 Councillor and the Clerk washing their hands of webcasts, minutes and incumbent 2018 financial reports et al, disappearing from the city site after nominations opened sees candidate Keith Demoe’s concern, that the same Clerk is responsible for certifying the vote counts, as an absolutely valid concern. We await media uproar as this cannot be!

A top priority is clearly to remove this absolutely valid concern that has cast a very dark shadow over the 2022 Burlington Municipal Election.

The email conversation between Pepper Parr of the Gazette and Councillor Kearns asking him to remove comments known to represent the truth shows the power the incumbent believed she had to control the Gazette. She soon found out she was totally in error

Anne Marsden is a candidate for the office of Mayor.

This Opinion piece was paid for by the Committee to Elect Marsden as Mayor of the City of Burlington

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1 comment to Mayoralty candidate set out her first priority as Mayor: Change the Procedure Bylaw

  • David Barker

    All this holier than thou from someone who:-

    * supported Councilor Stolte in breaking Council Confidentiality and the City’s Code of Good Governance.

    * will not confirm that if elected mayor she will fully abide by the terms of the City’s Code of Good Governance

    * refuses to answer valid questions put to her as a mayoral candidate.

    * was herself banned from stepping inside City Hall as a result of a history of antagonistic behaviour towards members of Council and city staff.

    * I personally as a member of the Heritage Burlington Committee, witnessed Marsden exhibit antagonistic behaviour.

    * having supported Councilor Stolte’s breaking of Council Confidentiality, Marsden is now all over Councilor Kearns for committing the same offence.

    * denounced Councilors Nisan and Galbraith for reporting Stolte to the Integrity Commissioner, yet now is supportive of the person who reported Councilor Kearns to the Integrity Commissioner, who in my opinion must be either or both O’Brien and Demoe.

    Double Standard Marsden.